Misspent Youth

The (Mis)application of the Youth Criminal Justice Act by the Criminal Code Review Boards of British Columbia and Ontario

  • Kyle McCleery


This article examines the treatment of young people, as defined in the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), by the Criminal Code review boards of British Columbia and Ontario. Section 141(6) of the YCJA requires provincial review boards to give special consideration in making disposition decisions applicable to young people found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder (NCRMD). Through an analysis of decisions made by the two review boards in 2015 and 2016, this article concludes that neither review board is consistently giving effect to this provision. It then considers whether there is a need to provide distinct treatment to young people in this context, concluding that there are compelling reasons for giving special consideration to young people found NCRMD, but also that the requirements of section 141(6), even if given their full effect, are insufficient to account for the unique circumstances of this population.